Losing streaks collide as Jaguars visit Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars were both victorious in Week 1.
As they prepare to meet Sunday in Inglewood, Calif., both teams are still chasing a second win.
At least for the Chargers (1-4), rookie quarterback Justin Herbert has been stellar during his first four NFL starts.
Herbert has gone winless against Patrick Mahomes, Teddy Bridgewater, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, with the Chargers losing each game by seven or fewer points.
Still, the Chargers’ first-round pick out of Oregon ranks third in the NFL in yards per completion (12.3), fourth in yards per game (298.8) and ninth in passer rating (107.1).
“(Herbert) knows he’s the starter now and he’s not looking over his shoulder,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “He’s not the leader of the team yet, but he is more vocal and he has to be. In time that leadership will come, but I like what he’s doing right now.”
When the Chargers host the Jaguars (1-5), Herbert takes on a former Pac-12 foe, Washington State product Gardner Minshew.
Minshew has a higher completion rage (67.5 percent) and more pass attempts (240) than he had through his first six starts as a rookie (58.2 percent on 201 attempts).
Despite his 11 touchdown passes, Minshew has thrown five interceptions (only one through six starts in 2019) and has been sacked 17 times — two more than last year through six starts.
“It’s these trials that produce perseverance and endurance,” Minshew said. “Sometimes you have to go through these tough spots, and we’re growing a lot as a team.”
Jacksonville has had trouble early in games while Los Angeles has had trouble late.
The Jaguars have scored 17 points in the first quarter this season and have only scored 30 in the first half combined over the past four games.
“I just think we just have to keep working on communicating with the players, find things they’re comfortable with, find things schematically that can work well,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “We have to get a few plays to get it sparked.”
The Chargers have allowed 44 points in the second half and overtime combined in their past two games after giving up only 26 over their first three.
“When we get up by however many points, we have to finish and execute,” defensive end Joey Bosa said. “We have to do better.”
Chargers edge rusher Melvin Ingram III (knee) and defensive tackle Justin Jones (shoulder) as well as Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo (hip) were all designated for return from the IR and could be back in action this week.
Lynn told reporters Wednesday that Austin Ekeler’s hamstring injury was “very serious” and that he expected the running back to return “later rather than sooner.”
For the Chargers, right tackle Bryan Bulaga (back), wide receiver Keenan Allen (back) and cornerback Casey Hayward (undisclosed) all returned to practice Wednesday, but right guard Trai Turner (groin) and tackle Storm Norton (knee) did not.
Los Angeles running back Justin Jackson (knee), defensive tackle Linval Joseph (elbow), quarterback Tyrod Taylor (ribs) and offensive tackle Sam Tevi (thumb) were also listed on the injury report. Bosa (ankle) was not listed.
For the Jaguars, linebacker Myles Jack (ankle) and safety Jarrod Wilson (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, and it’s unclear if they will be available Sunday.
Also, Jacksonville edge rusher Josh Allen (knee), defensive tackle Abry Jones (ankle), linebacker Dakota Allen (foot), wide receivers DJ Chark (ankle) and Laviska Shenault (hamstring), tight end Tyler Eifert (knee), and offensive linemen Ben Bartch (shoulder), A.J. Cann (foot/knee), Andrew Norwell (ankle) and Brandon Linder (knee, scheduled rest day) appeared on Wednesday’s injury report.
Jaguars defensive end/linebacker Aaron Lynch was reinstated from the reserved/retired list to the Jaguars’ exempt/commissioner permission list.
–Field Level Media